Your vegetarian guests will appreciate this spectacular centrepiece. Pops of feta and pomegranate add a lovely contrast to the nutty grains and sweet roasted squash flesh.
1 large butternut squash, about 1.2kg
½ tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g baby leaf spinach
1 x 250g pouch cooked grains or rice (we used Merchant Gourmet Glorious Grains) – use a gluten-free mix if required
1 x 80g pack pomegranate seeds (or seeds of 1 fruit)
25g toasted pine nuts
1 x 30g pack coriander, chopped
125g vegetarian feta, crumbled
FOR THE DRESSING
2 tbsp mild olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Slice the butternut squash in half end-to-end and scrape out the seeds. Place both halves onto a lined oven tray, cut-side down. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until just tender when you pierce the flesh with a small sharp knife. Take care not to overcook the squash as it’ll cook further once returned to the oven. Set aside to cool.
- Flip the cooled squash halves over. Scoop most of the tender flesh out into a bowl, leaving a 1.5cm ‘shell’ of squash around the edges. Season the hollowed- out squash halves.
- Heat 1⁄2 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan or lidded frying pan, then fry the onion over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Stir through the spinach, cover with a lid, and leave to wilt for 2 minutes. Next, add the grains, scooped-out squash, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and coriander. Break down the squash with your spoon and mix everything together well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Stir this through the grain mixture and lastly fold through the feta. Season to taste.
- Divide the filling mixture between the squash halves, pressing it down so it is compacted. Put the two halves back together to re- make the butternut squash shape and secure with loops of kitchen string tied around the squash.
- Return to the oven tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until the squash is completely tender and the filling is piping hot. To serve, slice the squash into thick rounds, using a wide spatula to help hold each slice together, and discard the string.